When you make parts for a current project it pays to make lots of those parts for projects in the distant future. Today I needed three end blocks (I call them butt blocks). I always use scrap walnut left over from sawing necks on the band saw. Walnut is stable, strong, and I hate to waste the wood from that beautiful old tree that was felled thirty-five years ago.
So I sawed up what scraps of walnut I had saved and here are the results. The three I need for the current build and eleven more for future tenor builds. It is a great boon to be able to just take what you need off the shelf when you are building.
Once that was done I turned to shaping the three butt plates for the three tenors under construction. A pretty easy task on the sander. I just mark the curve I want with a pencil and kind of free form them. Once the curve fits I turn the block over and round off the back corners to save a little weight in the final instrument. These are now ready to go. Notice the instrument number in pencil. You want to fit each block to the instrument it will be attached to.
The sound port prototype
I told you a few days ago about my cousin with the new CNC machine. Today I received in the mail the prototype oval that he cut for me. This is cut in laminated bamboo which is what he had available. Notice the flange. The idea is to carefully cut an oval sound port in the side of a uke, then slip this piece in from the back so that the flange will provide a stop and a strong glueing surface. Then the barrel would be sanded off flush with the side of the uke adding a finished look to the sound-hole. if this works I will be sending him solid woods of my choice to I will likely have him make me these ovals from several kinds of rosewood, koa, maple, pacific yew, boxwood, holly. This method should provide a perfect oval. It will be fun to experiment with it. If this works well we may offer them to other uke builders wanting to include sound ports.